At the AGM in September 2013, the new committee of the Durrow Development Forum was formed with officers being appointed at a subsequent meeting. Committee membership was as follows – Chairperson: Evelyn Clancy; Vice Chairperson: Noeleen Dunphy; Secretary: Deirdre Clancy; Treasurer: Mary Walsh; Committee Members: Jim Clancy, Delphine Lawlor, Mary Dowling, Daniel Dunne, Kathleen Drennan, Emer O’Brien, Breda Clancy, Rita Casey, Gabriel Dunne Das. Marian Mahony was also re-elected to the committee for the Square Rejuvenation Project only.

November saw 28 acts take to the stage to participate in the Annual Stars in Your Eyes competition. As in previous years the proceeds from the event went towards enhancing the approach roads into Durrow. As the Swan Road works had yet to be undertaken, €1,000 from the concert proceeds was donated to the Swan Road Action Group towards the cost of landscaping once the works were completed.

In early December work began on the Christmas Lights. This is a large undertaking and we would very much like to thank the volunteers who assisted. The Crib once again greatly enhanced the area during the Christmas period. For the second year the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was ‘ motorised’ and proved once again to be successful.

It is no surprise that the highlight of the past 12 months for the committee has been the success of the Durrow Scarecrow Festival. The committee would like to thank the people (too many to name) who helped out so greatly before and during the festival. Following the festival’s nomination for ‘Best Festival of 2012 and 2013’ in the Irish Times Ticket Awards, the festival received a huge amount of national media coverage this year including TV3, RTE Drivetime and TodayFM. Again this year the focus of the festival was very much on raising funds for re-investment in the community. Once again costs were kept to a minimum and this was possible thanks to voluntary contributions in terms of time, expertise and equipment and also thanks to local sponsorship. Attendance at the festival was the largest to date with over 18,000 people this year.

DDF-Announcement-2The Square Rejuvenation Project has finally started having been somewhat delayed by the Sewage works. Works on the drainage commenced on 12th November 2014. €500,000 has been committed to the project thanks to €300,000 allocated by the then Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and a further €200,000 from the sale of council land on the Abbeyleix Road. Photo: Minister Charlie Flanagan, Peter Carey, County Manager- Laois Co.Co, elected local representatives Cllr. John Bonham, Cllr. John King, Cllr. Marty Phelan, Cllr. David Goodwin and Fine Gael Candidate John Finlay and DDF representatives Evelyn Clancy and Marian Mahony at an announcement in May 2014.

As always it would be amiss to conclude this report in any way other than to thank the army of over 100 volunteers who have assisted us in our work over the last year. As a voluntary committee of 14 with a large workload, it would be impossible for us to carry out our work without their support. We were delighted to see many few faces and families come on board this year and we sincerely hope that many more will join us in 2015.
DDF look forward to a busy but very exciting 2015 when the Square Rejuvenation Project will be completed and the wonderful amenity of our green area becomes an even more beautiful space at the heart of our community.